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Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame

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Michele was inducted to the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame on August 3, 2010.  The ceremonies were held at the Cowboy Hall of Fame and Museum in Oklahoma City.  Other 2010 class inducties include Troy Aikman, Don Demeter, Pete Incaviglia, and Rick Bryan.

It could be said that Michele Smith is to softball what Shannon Miller is to gymnastics, John Smith is to wrestling or Mickey Mantle is to baseball.  She is simply at the top of the list as the very best competitor in her sport and an inspiration to those who want to follow in her footsteps.

 

Michele Smith Hall of Fame

Smith started playing softball at age five, but didn’t pitch until she turned 15.  By the time she left Voorhees High School in New Jersey, she owned the school records in wins, strikeouts and no-hitters.  In 1985, she came to Oklahoma State University and was an All Big 8 Conference Tournament selection in 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1989.  In 1988 and 1989, she earned All-American honors, led the nation in home runs, was Academic All-Big 8, and made both the Dean’s List and the President’s Honor Roll with a 4.0 GPA all four semesters.  In 1989, she was named the Oklahoma College Athlete of the Year by USA Today.

 The success did not come without adversity and challenge.  Following her freshman year in 1986, Smith was riding in a pickup truck in New Jersey when the door flew open.  She was thrown into a roadside post, cutting off part of her elbow, tearing the triceps from her left arm and severing muscle and nerve endings in her pitching arm.  It seemed like the end of her life as she had known it, but a competitive spirit and firm determination took over. 

 After nine months of intensive rehab, she made her comeback as a pitcher at OSU, winning 18 games her sophomore year, 26 games as a junior and 26 more in her senior season.  She is still the OSU career leader in wins (82), appearances (108), complete games (75) and innings pitched (707.1).  And for good measure, she also is among the school’s all-time leading hitters with 87 RBIs (2nd); ten triples (2nd); 233 total bases (3rd); a .343 batting average (5th); and 148 hits (9th).

 Although playing for Team USA in the Olympics and other world softball competitions, Smith also played in the Japanese Pro League for 16 years through 2008 and has been named Japan Pro League MVP nine times.   She is an official Japanese citizen, owns a Japanese driver’s license and is fluent in the language.  She has super star power in Japan and fans clamor to touch her and get her autograph.

 Smith has led Team USA to numerous gold medals in international competition, including gold medals in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics where she played in all nine games as both a pitcher and designated hitter.  She was inducted into the American Softball Association Hall of Fame in 2006

 http://www.jimthorpeassoc.org/Michele%20Mary%20Smith.html


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